Wally WHY200 “Has ‘Wow’ Factor Engraved In DNA”
With a staggering 200GT of interior volume, Wally’s four-engine WHY200 has been described by Ferretti Group as the world’s largest fibreglass motor yacht with a sub-24m load line. But is the world ready for this futuristic vision of boating?
The semi-displacement WHY200 has a top speed of 23 knots
As the Wally WHY200 glides across the bay, she looks more like a runaway train than a luxury motor yacht. Fronted by a remarkable bow rising 15ft 5in – that’s more than twice the height of Yao Ming – the 88ft 8in semi-displacement motor yacht is also a true widebody. And what a wide body it is, with an astonishing beam of 25ft 2in (7.66m) inviting catamaran comparisons.
The full widebody design extends even to the skylounge on the flybridge, the deck with the yacht’s only forward outdoor space, a working area in front of the uber-cool helm station. The design’s front-loaded focus on interior space combined with the enormous beam mean the 200GT Wally Hybrid Yacht blows all her competition out of the water in terms of volume.
Wally founder Luca Bassani drew WHY200’s remarkable profile
Ferretti Group says the WHY200 is the world’s largest fibreglass boat with a sub-24m load line and offers 30 per cent more deck surface than any other yacht in the sub-100ft market. This all becomes apparent as you step inside, where the saloon’s huge width of 23ft is the same as on the 164ft Riva 50Metri, whose maximum span of 29ft 6in includes side decks either side of the living area.
“Now you see why we say we created a new sector with the WHY200. If you don’t see the inside, you don’t understand the outside,” says Stefano de Vivo, Managing Director of Wally and CCO of Ferretti Group. “The WHY200 is our answer to the power catamaran. It fills a hole and doesn’t overlap with any other brand. It’s not a Custom Line Navetta and it’s not a Ferretti Yachts 1000.
The hull has a remarkable beam of over 25ft
“It was a challenge, but we believe the model is going to grow on people because it grew on us, just like it grew on the owner of hull one, who previously owned fast Pershing motor yachts, but now wants to cruise longer distances.”
CONCEPT & CONSTRUCTION
Other leading builders of fibreglass flybridge motor yachts have also made a notable push toward volume and range in recent years, yet Wally looks to have gone to the extreme, with Ferretti Group admitting it took “a bit of a gamble” with such a radical design topped by a Wally-styled carbon and glass superstructure.
Bassani focused first on the hull design
Is it too much, too soon? Not for Alberto Galassi, CEO of Ferretti Group, who cited the quote attributed to Henry Ford: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Wally’s super-smooth, clean, almost sparing designs are often perceived as futuristic, with founder and Chief Designer Luca Bassani frequently described as being 20 years ahead of the game, yet his latest model may be his boldest yet. “WHY200 has the ‘wow’ factor engraved in its DNA,” Bassani says.
The almost vertical bow rises 15ft 5in
The WOW200 would also have been a good name, so why ‘WHY’? Wally Hybrid Yacht refers not to its propulsion but its ability to offer the volume of a displacement yacht on a semi-displacement hull that can reach 23 knots with the more powerful quadruple engine options. As well as being Wally’s answer to the powercat, Bassani believes “it’s an explorer, it’s a crossover; it can be anything on this hull”.
The WHY200 started in 2019, when Ferretti Group challenged Bassani to design a high-volume, semi-displacement yacht. Interestingly, considering the final out-of-the-box exterior design, Bassani started by focusing on the hull to achieve cruising speeds of 15-20 knots without planing, working with British firm Laurent Giles on the naval architecture.
Side garage doors that form a three-sided, walkaround beach club
“We started with the hull because this is even more important for a semi-displacement hull,” Bassani admits. “We had to have a hull that can be very good through the waves, so we needed a high bow like ships or real explorer yachts to keep up speeds in big waves and reduce water on deck.”
BEACH CLUB & COCKPIT
As well as volume, another reason for creating a wide yacht was to increase stability – again, like a catamaran – and the widest part of the yacht is aft, from where it gently tapers forward. This shape means the widest areas are the beach club, main-deck cockpit and aft flybridge.
An Opacmare transformer provides access to the water and extends the beach club
One of WHY200’s most innovative features is its split garage, which is as clever as it is cool and another example of form following function.
“The stern is probably the part of the yacht where you live most of the time and we didn’t want the view blocked by the central garage, so we moved them to the side,” Bassani says.
Wide central stairs lead between the sunbathing areas to the covered aft cockpit
Yet he did much more than that. The side bulwarks also act as the garage doors and open to allow access to a Williams DiesetJet 415 on starboard, while the port side can store a large jetski, Seabob, paddleboard and other water toys.
When the bulwarks are down, they combine with the aft platform to create a walkaround, three-sided beach club offering 345sqft of social area just above the water, with two aft sofas providing fixed seating. And there’s more, with a central Opacmare transformer providing access to the water or pontoon.
The long cockpit has sofas facing inward and aft, a diagonal dining table to starboard and port flybridge stairs
Wide central steps lead to the 500sqft cockpit, which is dominated by the huge sunbathing areas on top of both garages, each lined by seating facing centre and aft. Protected by big windows either side, the inner cockpit area has flybridge stairs to port and a dining table and chairs by the starboard sofa, yet while very spacious, the zone can feel a little dark due to the enormous overhang.
A ‘BOX YOU CAN FILL UP’
Including the length of the sunbathing areas, the cockpit is notably long, so the saloon starts about 30ft from the stern or over a third of the boat’s length. Italian studio A. Vallicelli & C handled the interior design of WHY200, and the décor is a mix of wood, sandy tones, black, white and shades of grey.
The saloon features a carbon-fibre staircase; hull one has a ‘show kitchen’ to port
There’s a nice continuity as teak flooring and the white ceiling continue from the cockpit into the saloon, yet sight lines are interrupted by the carbon-and-glass staircase almost plumb in the middle of the saloon.
It’s certainly a centrepiece, one that may divide opinion, but it’s structurally essential and does provide a divider in the middle of the vast saloon, a 650sqft rectangle that owners can pretty much arrange as they wish – around the staircase.
Aft view of the saloon, which has a beam like the saloon on the Riva 50Metri
“The saloon is just enormous,” De Vivo says. “It gives you flexibility because it’s a box and you can fill it up how you wish.”
The first hull features a long white cabinet to starboard opposite a show kitchen and bar stools port of the staircase, an area that could be used for a dining or games table or otherwise.
For the forward half of the saloon, Wally’s layouts include two facing L-shaped sofas, coffee tables and chairs, while there’s also an option for a dining table and chairs with the starboard sofa.
A dining table can be included in the lounge area
The staircase leads up to the skylounge, which has four skylights – two big, two small – and on hull one features a C-shaped sofa to port that faces an entertainment zone with 55in TV to starboard.
Again, the room can be customised, with plans including a dining table to port and L-shaped sofa to starboard.
The skylounge on hull one features seating to port and a large TV to starboard
Forward within the carbon ‘dome’ is the spectacular helm station with four screens and distinctive, high-back seats by Poltrona Frau, one for the pilot and twin chairs to port. Side doors lead to the yacht’s only ‘foredeck’, which has a sofa but is mainly a working area.
The stairs also lead aft to the enormous outdoor area, about half of which is covered by the ‘hard top’, a sleek 6-7m extension from the carbon structure housing the skylounge and sole helm station.
The flybridge provides a huge outdoor space for loose furniture
Ferretti Group describes the carbon structure as “a masterpiece of design and engineering for its exceptional stability and strength” and it’s hard to disagree, although the sides do reduce the natural light in the dining area.
However, modern sofas, sun loungers and chaise longues all enjoy vast outdoor space alongside a wet bar on starboard, and again, the size of this area makes it unique for a yacht in this category.
‘WOW BOW’ AND DOWN BELOW
The indoor ‘boxes you can fill’ continue back on the main deck with arguably the most spectacular room of them all – the 400sqft master suite in the bow, although options for the space include a dining room featuring a circular table and a corner bar, a layout that might have strong appeal in Asia.
On the main deck, the forward room enjoys 270-degree views and can also be used for dining
The room features a spectacular 270-degree view from up high, with hull one featuring a forward facing bed ahead of his and hers bathrooms either side of the door. Other layouts include just one bathroom, to port, and a walk-in dressing room to starboard, but the room is really about the views.
“The volume carried forward on the main deck was a result of the high bow, so I thought we could exploit this new volume by having an owner’s suite,” Bassani says. “It has the best view and a good position because you’re far from the engine room. All potential clients who have been on board love this position.”
The spectacular master suite with two bathrooms
The central staircase also leads down to the lower-deck cabins, which are accessed by a hallway leading forward between identical guest rooms on either side, each with inward-facing beds and forward bathrooms.
The VIP suite is in the bow, with an inward-facing bed on port and storage, a sofa and a pop-up TV to starboard, while forward are ‘his and hers’ bathrooms with sinks and toilets either side of a shared shower.
Lower-deck guest cabins include a full-beam stateroom forward that can be the VIP or master suite
This bedroom can become the master if the room above it is used for other purposes, plus it can even be split into two guest cabins if four lower-deck cabins are desired.
The crew area is aft of the central staircase and contains the main galley, with stairs on the port side, below the flybridge steps. Crew are well served by a separate mess, captain’s cabin with en-suite featuring separate shower, two twin-bunk rooms and a shared bathroom, also with separate shower.
The lower deck includes the primary galley in the large crew area aft
THE FUTURE IS NOW
On board technology includes a 5G wireless network connection with home automation control, which means guests can manage audio and video systems via mobile devices, both outside and inside the yacht. The first hull features a 5.1 Premium sound system on the main and upper decks, while a sophisticated Sonance sound system serves the outdoor areas.
For propulsion, the first unit is powered by four 1,000hp Volvo Penta D-13 IPS 1350 engines, while fuel can be saved by running on just two engines at displacement speeds up to about 10.5 knots.
The sole helm station features four screens and three Poltrona Frau chairs
During media sea trials, the hull showed its impressive ability to cut through chunky waves with minimal pitching. It also ‘cornered like it’s on rails’, maintaining a horizontal position while turning, yet another catamaran comparison, yet without the ‘stiffness’ of a twin hull, Bassani emphasised.
While the width and hull design provide stability, this can be enhanced at anchor or while cruising with two Humphree fin stabilisers, plus there’s also an option for two Seakeepers.
Hull six is scheduled for Asia by late 2022
Ferretti Group is currently producing several more units in Mondolfo, where Pershing motor yachts are built, although a new facility is planned for a range of WHY models. For now, hull six of the WHY200 – with a dining room in the bow of the main deck – has been earmarked for Asia as the Group seeks to roll out this pioneering model to markets around the world.
The Wally WHY200 offers clients more space and volume than ever before on a CE-category, 23-knot motor yacht, but its radical styling, full widebody shape and other design elements will challenge many. Only the market will decide if Wally has pushed too far, too soon.
Exclusive interview with Ferretti Group’s Stefano de Vivo
Even though Ferretti Group racked up over US$1 billion in sales in the first nine months of 2021, CCO Stefano de Vivo says the Italian conglomerate is continuing to focus on advancing and widening its range of models to keep its iconic brands as front-runners in their sectors. Interview: John Higginson.